“Hindsight 2020” – A fillip to board games

January 26, 2021 By Tanushri Off
Kids playing pagade during the lockdown in 2020

The year 2020 has been such an eye opener for the world on a whole. Many activities which were once considered not do-able only from out of homes has been disproved completely. This means home has been the office, school, playground and finally the home …

We have all realized that staying at home is not impossible, but it is quite hard in terms of recreation, especially for the kids.

One of the best things of this year was the re-discovery and revival of board games (traditional not the screen ones, of course!). Also, having all the family members at home together was an added perk.

Popular games

Let’s have a look at the board games that have been re-discovered this year in homes.

Carrom – Once a common sight in every household but had been relegated to the back with the advent of technology, this game played between 2-4 players is known for improving the hand eye co-ordination and focus.
Ludo – again played between 2-4 players improves arithmetic skills and introduces the concept of probability in young players.
Chess – The origin of which is India, Chess also known as chaduranga, is one of the best ways to introduce the concept of strategy, tactics. Played between two players, Chess calls for out-of-box thinking and calculating the opponent’s move in advance.
Monopoly – The most famous indoor game of the 1980’s and 1990’s which brought kids and elders alike together every summer night. It was like a dream come true of many to buy properties, hotelsaround the world. How subtly did this game teach the role of money – buying, selling, mortgaging,
rent collection for the young players!

Traditional Indian Board Games

Also, the year has called for re-discovery and revival of many traditional Indian board games.


Chowka Bara – a 5 X 5 or a 7 X 7 square board game played with cowrie shells between 2-4 players. The arithmetical skills and quick thinking of players is tested while paying close attention to the moves of fellow players.
Pachisi or Pagade aata – Known by many names such as chaupaas, this is the infamous reason for the Mahabharatha war and also a favourite pastime of many kings and rulers. The game involves 2-4 players, played on a symmetrical cross mat with dominoes.
Ala-guli mane aata – Two rows of seven holes in a wooden board is carved and cowrie shells/tamarind seeds are used to play this game between two players. It is said that this board can be used to play 21 variations of the game!
Aadu-huli aata – The game basically means goat-tiger game when literally translated from Kannada. The basic idea is to rescue a goat from the tiger with strategy.

Many of these games have found mention in temple carvings, books and many are learnt from our older generations. One of the most famous reference is the carving of HaathiRam ji playing Pachisi or Pagade with none other than Lord Venkateshwara himself in the entrance of Tirumala
temple.

We have a treasure trove of innovative, mind boggling, varied games which are made with easily available materials. These ancient games include applying mind constructively, bringing families closer to bond together, rejoice along with the understanding that a journey is more enjoyable than its result.

What are we waiting for? Lets discover and get going …

~ Ramya Kannan